There have been many books written and many films produced that show sharks in a negative light. People all over the world are either fascinated or terrified by these creatures of the sea and sometimes, they’re a little bit of both. The truth is, Hollywood has done a lot of damage to the reputation of the shark.
But where is the line between fact and fiction? Where do interesting shark facts become overblown shark myths? Hollywood has one job and one job only: to entertain the masses. Movies are for entertainment and the more they blow up the facts about sharks, the more entertaining they think the movies become. There are many shark movies out there, but some of the more well-known movies that have taken the shark and turned him into a pariah are:
- “Open Water”
- “The Reef”
- “Night of the Sharks”
- The entire “Sharknado” franchise
- “Deep Blue Sea”
- The entire “Shark Attack” franchise
- “The Shallows”
The list goes on. The majority of what people know about sharks come from movies like these and other television shows that exploit the nature of the shark, as well as the fears in humans, and take them to levels that are over-the-top.
Jokes In “Jaws”
Let’s take a few of the myths about sharks that came from the movie “Jaws” and bust them back from fake to fact:
Fake: In the movie, after some deadly shark attacks, the local sheriff begins reading books about sharks. He reads that sharks can live for 2,000 – 3,000 years.
Fact: Sharks are one of the oldest creatures on the planet, dating back 400 million years. The shark species that still remain vary in lifespan. Some live to be 12 years old, some can live to be 35 – 40 years-old, and others, like the Whale Shark, can hang around for 60 – 100 years.
Fake: One of the main characters in the movie describes the “rogue shark” theory. It states that the only sharks who attack people are those who swim alone and have developed a taste for human flesh.
Fact: Sharks don’t develop a taste for human flesh. Most have developed a taste for crustaceans, fish, and other marine creatures. As for swimming alone? Though sometimes they will form a group for feeding or during certain times of the year, most shark species actually do swim alone.
Fake: When looking at the remains of a girl who was killed by a shark, the medical examiner says that she was killed by a “large squalus, possibly an onjumanus or a glaucous.”
Fact: This one is partially true; a squalus was once a Latin term for shark. But there is no such thing as an onjumanus or a glaucous.
Fake: At one point, one of the main characters is boiling a shark jaw to get it sparkling clean.
Fact: Since the jaw of a shark is not made of bone, but cartilage, boiling it would literally reduce it to a cartilaginous mess.
Silliness In “The Shallows”
Looking at a recent film that was released this summer called “The Shallows,” we can find more interesting shark facts that were turned into fakes:
Fake: All sharks are cold-blooded killers that are hell-bent of hunting people.
Fact: Sharks do not target people for consumption. Some sharks forage for food (fish, crabs) in shallow waters where you find swimmers and surfers. If you happen to attract them, they might come to investigate you and end up taking a bite. Once they realize that you are not tasty, they high-fin in out of there.
Fake: You can hide in a bunch of jellyfish to avoid being attacked by a shark.
Fact: Not likely. The skin of a shark is tough, nothing like the skin of a human. A jellyfish sting would be harmless and worthless.
Fake: A shark will leap out of the water in order to knock a person off of a boat and into the sea for easy eating.
Fact: Scientists have never seen a shark do anything like that. Though they might be seen leaping into the air to grab prey, and they often lie in wait for an unassuming seal to come down on the shoreline, they don’t ever grab anything from the land.
Fake: Surfers are just asking for trouble because sharks can’t wait to get their teeth around that fresh meat.
Fact: Truthfully, a surfer can resemble a seal from a distance, so the odds might be higher that a shark with come and investigate. Plus, just being closer to where a shark lives and feeds puts anyone at a higher risk. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting bitten by a shark.
Stupidity Of “Sharknado”
Ok, we all know that even the title is inconceivable. And *spoiler alert*, if you were ever consumed whole by a shark, you would not be able to cut your way back out if you happened to be holding a chainsaw when you were consumed. Sorry. Other fakes and facts are:
Fake: Tornadoes can form over the water, picking up sharks and sending them to attack people on land.
Fact: First of all, tornadoes don’t form over water; those are called waterspouts. Second, a shark would not survive being picked up by a tornado if it were somehow in the path of one…somehow.
Fake: There are hurricanes off the southern California coast that are strong enough to produce tornadoes.
Fact: The cool waters of the Pacific Ocean would prevent a storm of that magnitude from hitting the area.
Fake: Global warming can cause a tornado that is make of sharks to pick up Ferris wheels and use them as weapons.
Fact: Rising sea waters? Yes. Melting polar caps? Yep. But we are still a long way off from global warming having that kind of a drastic effect on the planet.
There you have it. Interesting shark facts that beat the shark fakes, fins-down. Take Hollywood movies for what they are; purely silly and entertaining.